Make Changes That Make You Happy

As I talk with other appraisers and read online forums, I am often saddened by what I hear and see. Many appraisers appear to be unhappy with their profession, and this perspective has to affect their personal lives as well. Whether you fell into appraising or actively pursued the profession, you are choosing to be an appraiser and you are choosing to run your business a certain way.

I often see and hear comments that reflect a victim mentality in the appraiser world. I believe individuals should be happy in their various situations 82% of the time. Things happen, life happens, and every situation is going to have its low points. But if you are not satisfied with your life at least 82% of the time, then it is time to make some changes.

Now I know it is much easier to talk about making changes than it is to actually do it. Believe me, I know. I used to be a middle-school teacher. I realized at some point that I hated working for someone else. I made the decision to start my own company and be a real estate appraiser. This was a long and extremely challenging process, but ultimately it was worth it.

In the end, you have three options if you are currently disliking your role as an appraiser: you can change professions, you can change the way you do business, or you can continue to be unhappy. Ultimately, complaining does little to help whatever difficult situation you find yourself in, so make a resolution now to start making different choices that lead to better results.

For example, one issue I consistently see appraisers complaining about is AMC’s and difficult clients. I get it. Sometimes they can be a pain in the ass, but you do not have to work for clients that treat you like crap. There are a lot of options out there. I personally only do work for A and B clients (see this corresponding blog for more information on this topic). You also have the option to move to the private sphere and stop working for AMCs all together as some of my mentees have done. The point is there are other options and you always have a choice even though those changes may be difficult.

I hope that as appraisers, we can choose to be better. I hope we can focus on the solutions rather than the problems. I hope we can help each other rather than tear each other down. And I hope we can have the courage to make the difficult decisions that ultimately lead to more success and happiness.

If you are interested in joining a community of appraisers committed to helping each other make changes to their businesses for the better, please check out my All Star Team.

For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode: 290 You Have A Choice

9 thoughts on “Make Changes That Make You Happy”

  1. Dustin, I agree that there are those in appraiser groups that can really be “snarky”. There are comments made that dumb us down. I’m sure there are clients in these groups that see these comments and it doesn’t help us to make these clients think that we are all a bunch of narcistic crybabies! In the defense of “complaining” however, I think it’s OK to “vent” at times but in a mature, professional manor that can be constructive. The bulk of the comments are informative so I believe, in spite of the complaining, appraisers are happy with their occupation more than 82% of the time.

  2. If you are not managing for success, I can see where disappointment might prevail. I am near the end of my time as an appraiser and have been blessed by two careers. In 2012, I took the prevailing advice and diversified to non lending clients. There are issues in this venue as well, but it allowed me to ween out the lending clients I did not care for. Have been practically AMC free since 2016. What a waste of energy complaining can be. If you are dissatisfied with your situation, work on positive changes. It will not fall into your lap, it takes hard work and determination.

  3. V. F. Andrews

    Great point, coach! We am blessed to be in this business. We get to see something new about every day, along with some incredible real estate properties. In my business, I get to know a lot of people, buyers, sellers and other real estate professionals. All my joy and professional satisfaction comes from these things and I’d guess they provide about a 90% happiness rating. I really work hard at trying to be fair, honest and ethical, to choose a ‘great name over great riches’ (not that this business produces wealth – its just a good living after all). I keep up with the latest technology, take the best education and use other tools to help make me a better appraiser. I’m not afraid to invest, spending precious dollars to do so; However, 100% of the remaining 10% comes from government! In my opinion, all the grief and anxiety in this industry comes from state and federal bureaucracy and all the minions who seek to prove guilt before innocence. Yes, every once in a while there is the obnoxious client, but if there were one simple change that I could make to this industry, it would be that the state and federal “overseers” would not presume guilt but would appreciate the ‘boots on the ground’ in this industry and the difficult job we do. If their policies would treat appraisal professionals like a common criminal – innocent until proven guilty, it would be an improvement! Along with the heavy handed industry regulation, I believe this combination, is the one single factor that keeps this industry from growing.

  4. I to am saddened by those who want to focus on the successful fringes (often their words / not mine) of any profession while they talk down to what is often times the majority meat in the middle worker bee. Seeking of the truth and spreading it does not automatically make one unhappy, sad, unprofessional, or mean their personal lives are adversely effected, nor does it mean those who are spreading the truth are IN the category of chaos they are exposing.

    Now, go make up a value.

    Seek the truth.

  5. Bingo! No AMC’s. They are in direct competition with us and often those who are employed strictly with AMC’s are REALLY stressed.
    Did some work for them until I found direct work,. Then when we could go back to having our own clients. Most of my work is Lawyers, and Big Banks Direct. Many I have known for 30 years. Nobody was crazier than me in 2008. So angry that everything I worked for the prior 15 years would be gone. Nearly was.
    Just remember who had the Big Idea at the downturn in 2008 to make appraisers get all their work from AMC’s. Our Camera King during this Pandemic. The broke New York Mayor, Andrew Cuomo. He threatened to sue The Federal Government for all the foreclosures in New York State unless they did something with us bad appraisers. And he had a family member in New York that owned an AMC. Needless to say that person retired soon after we lost our wages to his AMC’s, and others. We were also told we could not own an AMC, but anyone else could.
    That turned out not to be the case. This is a crazy up and down business. From 1988-1995 were its best years. Then it was give every one a house even if they cannot afford it. Another Political Icon, Bill Clinton and the Libs. By 2006 down went the economy compliments of Countrywide. So many foreclosures. Some Township folks had as many as 300 a year. Look at your politicians before you vote. Must be big on business and for a good economy.

  6. You know what Dustin your right why fight for a change? Im going to drop all my clients and get a paper route! Just kidding! Im an appraiser! This is my profession! I love my job and I am an overall happy person. I will not stand for lies, manipulation and deception! I guess that makes me a bad appraiser, right? I will never allow the dishonest behavior of the AMCs, Lyle Radke and Danny Wiley ruin my profession. These people and entities have promoted appraiser shortage lies, appraisal quality lies, appraiser turn time lies and they even have worked up a fake reasonable and customary fee chart to deceive regulators. They have been stealing our data, our intellectual property and our money! So now they want to put us out of business? I have worked to hard to get to this point and I will not allow a bunch of low life parasites spread lies and deception all in pursuit of lowing our standards, harming public trust and retaining over 60% of the fees we earn. The AMCs scam the consumer yet the federal government stays quiet? This is our profession not that of the GSEs or the AMCs. I determine the scope of work, I assume the risk and I earned the fee. If you want to write some azz kissing AMC loving article go right ahead. Im not leaving the profession I love to allow these parasitical AMCs to become something they were never intended to be. How about we bifurcate Lyle Radke and Dannys pay check? They only have to do half the work, assume 100% of the risk but the good news is they can do the work in their PJs? Sounds reasonable right? Time to attack REVAA for what it is a low life parasitical business model with no added benefit to the consumer, the lender, the GSEs or the appraiser! The AMCs should assign work to the most qualified appraiser with a cost plus business model. How about you use your soap box as a platform for real change and not to tell appraiser who are unhappy with the low life behavior of the AMCs to find an other profession?

    1. Thank you Cotton for seeking the truth, spreading the truth, and naming names. One CAN love their profession while also having a passion to expose what is the reality for the majority of the working bee appraisers. Forget those who want to paint the industry with happy faces while they try and sell you their latest and greatest snake oil.

      Dustin, do you truly thinks its possible for 100 out of 100 (100%) licensed appraisers to find the holy grail of appraisal work (full fee work / no AMC’s, VA work, etc.)? If that work is currently done by 20 to 30 (%), what are the remaining appraisers to do (70 to 80)? Oh that right, just say no to AMC work, and demand higher fees.

      I understand your business model is to ignore the “Basket of Deplorables” while you attempt to churn a profit selling VHS tapes, but this article is a new low even for you.

      Go make up a value, but remember to seek the truth.

  7. Dustin said, “In the end, you have three options if you are currently disliking your role as an appraiser: you can change professions, you can change the way you do business, or you can continue to be unhappy. Ultimately, complaining does little to help whatever difficult situation you find yourself in, so make a resolution now to start making different choices that lead to better results.”

    Thank God the colonist who participated in the Boston Tea Party didn’t have access to your blog or podcast Dustin (3 options, really), otherwise they wouldn’t have chosen option 4 which is to fight the establishment and start a revolution.

    Seek the truth.

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